Two days ago, my son turned 1. It’s a huge milestone, and I’m reminded of the story of his entry into this world. And, I want to share it with you. We hadn’t simply gone past baby’s due date … we were facing a potential slew of interventions, including induction.
I was in complete awe that my first born baby had arrived on her due date. She was one of the roughly 5% of babies that arrived when she was due. You can’t even imagine my relief, because I’d been trying for about 2 weeks to naturally induce labor. I was done! But, she waited until it was her time. I labored for 26 hours (that we counted) before she arrived, but her timeliness was amazing.
After my daughter’s promptness, I was certain that my second was going to be 1 day early. Well, I had an attachment to a date that I wanted him to fulfill. You see, my husband’s birthday is October 26th. My daughter was born August 26th. Because of those two dates, I picked the number 26 for my Autocross racing. My son was due November 27th and it only made sense that he be born on the 26th to make my race car number special for all 3 of my loves. Silly, I know. But I figured the chances were pretty good that he be early, since big sis was on time. Wasn’t it? That’s how second babies work, right?
This story is about more than going past baby’s due date. It’s about escaping the cascade of interventions. And, knowing when something isn’t right, but believing you have control even when no one else believes with you. In my case, figuring out my son was stuck on a bone, preventing him from engaging and starting labor. This story is to give mothers hope, that even when the odds seem stacked against her, there’s still a chance.
My Baby’s Due Date had Passed Us By
My baby’s due date had arrived. I was miserable. It was a terrible pregnancy and I had wanted it to be over long before his due date. Then, the worst thing happened. He was late. My misery was extended. I was experiencing terrible pains. My doctor dismissed them saying “most second time mothers feel more pressure.” I had a lot of follow up visits to check on the little guy. We were all surprised that days kept passing without his arrival. And, I continually had to decline scheduling medical induction.
Let me tell you this. I also began to ignore phone calls and texts that were
checking on annoying me about when they would get to meet the new baby.
Something wasn’t right. Still, I had to fight my doctor on inducing me. At the time, I knew ACOG‘s guidelines allowed me to wait for induction until the 42nd week and I made sure my doctor understood that, so long as baby and I were healthy, I wouldn’t be persuaded to concede any sooner. But, I had to finally schedule an induction for my 42nd week. Not one day before that would I even entertain the idea.
The days leading up to my induction, I was scared and confused. If I had gone into labor on my own with my first, and she arrived on time, why in the world was I facing induction with my second? It just didn’t make sense.
On occasion, I was having contractions. There were pains like I’d never felt before. But, nothing had ever come from them.
I was making batches of freezer meals one night when I had a sudden sharp pain that had me hunched over the counter as I finished my work. When I finished, I hobbled up the stairs, unable to stand straight, showered, and went to bed in tears. I nearly had a panic attack thinking I was going to end up in the emergency room. The pain wasn’t like labor pain that I remembered. And I felt similar pains like that sporadically through the following days.
During contractions, it felt as though my right pubic bone was going to snap. As I type this, I can’t believe I didn’t realize what was happening.
The Call that Saved My Birth Story
2 days before my scheduled induction, I was in a panic. I called the instructor from our natural birth class we’d taken 5 years ago. Desperate for answers, I told her everything I was experiencing. I begged her for advice. What was the best method of induction to keep me from spiraling down the cascade of interventions? How could I keep from having a C-section? This, my friends, was the thing I feared most. I knew that delivering naturally with induction was going to be more difficult. And, I knew that the more interventions I elected for, the stronger my chances of having a C-section were.
What happened next was a revelation. She asked me what it was I was feeling when I had contractions. I explained they were strong contractions. Each of them, especially if I was upright, felt as though my bones were going to break. But, none of my contractions, no matter how strong, ever led to full blown labor. Labor stalled every night when I went to bed.
She told me it sounded as though my son had lodged his head on a bone in my pelvis. No form of induction was going to work. If I didn’t get him moved, I was at risk of ending up with the exact thing I feared the most. And she urged me to work as much as possible to get him moved off that bone.
Getting baby into position for labor
2 days before induction date, I spent the entire day researching positions and movements (spinningbabies.com) to get my baby’s head dislodged, and then tried them. A LOT of them! That evening, exhausted as I was, I told my husband I was taking a very brisk walk … “I’m going to run if I have to.” I was taking daily walks anyway, so this one would be my last ditch effort to get my son to move. Then, I would come home, have dinner, and be done for the day.
Little did I know, I would actually have to run. The traffic was terrible at the time I decided to take my very brisk walk. I, no kidding, had to run across one of the intersections because I had very little time to pass before the next long wave of traffic. There were so many cars, I had to take whatever small opportunity I could find. So, I ran. Then, I felt something. I wasn’t sure what I felt, but I was pretty sure the baby finally moved. Not only could I not run, but I couldn’t even walk at half the pace I started. I waddled, slowly, the rest of the way home anxious, but not allowing myself to get excited. Labor didn’t start right away and I slept wonderfully.
The very next morning, as I was heading down the stairs to prepare my daughter for a doctor’s appointment, I had the strongest contraction I’d ever felt. My husband sensed I was in labor. Forgive me, but being 13 days overdue, I wasn’t confident it was possible. So, I labored to, during, and from my daughter’s appointment. And, turns out, I was glad my husband went with me, because the drive home was excruciating. We ate lunch at home and my husband packed all of our things for the long overdue trip to the hospital. A few hours labor, my son was born.
I narrowly escaped labor induction
I had narrowly escaped a medical induction and the cascade of interventions by less than 24 hours. All of my worries about why had been eliminated. Had I not sought assistance, I might not have known my son had lodged his head on that bone. If I didn’t try, I could have been induced, but my body wasn’t going into labor because my son’s head wasn’t positioned correctly to place pressure on my cervix. That’s really important in this process.
Things could have been worse
Had I been induced with my son improperly positioned, two things could have happened.
- If they broke my water to induce, there was a chance for umbilical cord prolapse (when the umbilical cord drops ahead of the baby).
- If they gave me Pitocin to induce labor, my body likely wouldn’t have responded because my son wasn’t in position.
Either way, my story would have probably ended differently. And, not differently in a way that I was comfortable with.
I can share my story in hopes that other moms believe in themselves. When something doesn’t seem right, seek answers! I truly believe our bodies know what to do, but sometimes, like in my case, we need to give it some help. Give yourself time. Educate yourself. If baby isn’t in position, get him moved. Don’t put all your faith in your doctors. Why? Because, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why, with all their fancy technology, THEY couldn’t tell me my son’s head was lodged on a bone. Not once did the doctor even suggest the possibility. But a phone call to a birth instructor, a woman who really listened, helped me figure out my problem.
Regardless of what my doctor wanted me to believe, there wasn’t something wrong with me or my son. Something had gone awry and was (not so) easily managed with a bit of work on my part. I saved myself and my son from a more intense and possibly disturbing story. This mama refused to be another victim of unnecessary medical interventions.
I believed in myself and stopped listening to everyone else. Lord knows I heard plenty of useless statements like “induction isn’t so bad” and “there’s always C-Section.” What I knew in my heart was that my body knew how to go into labor and to deliver this baby without medical interventions… I just had to find a way to get that boy to move! And I did it!